NYS moves to kick Charter Communications out of state

Ruben Fields
July 28, 2018

But, the state Public Service Commission today (Friday) revoked its approval of the 2016 merger agreement saying that Charter made clear that it has no intention of providing the public benefits upon which the PSC's earlier approval was conditioned.

The state commission has given Charter Communications, the owners of Spectrum, 60 days to come up with an exit plan while the state seeks a new service provider.

As a result, Charter will now have to pay a total of $3 million in penalties.

In a statement, a Charter spokesman did not say what steps the company may take to try and block the order.

Charter, which does business as Spectrum cable in NY, has been locked in a battle with Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration over the rollout of high-speed internet access in rural areas of the state. "Our 11,000 diverse and locally based workers, who serve millions of customers in the state every day, remain focused on delivering faster and better broadband to more New Yorkers, as we promised".

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"In the weeks leading up to an election, rhetoric often becomes politically charged", spokeswoman Shelley Loo told The Post.

It's rare to see a state try to undo a merger this way and prohibit a company from operating (in its current form) in the state, but NY is clearly unhappy with Charter's actions in the wake of this merger, and displeased enough that they're moving beyond fines to merger revocation.

On Friday, July 27, ABC7 reported that state is giving Spectrum the boot after it failed to meet demands that were set in place back in 2016. The company said it has extended its advanced broadband network to more than 86,000 NY homes and businesses since the merger agreement and is focused on continuing that work. This means that the company can no longer operate in the state and in essence forfeits future revenue from roughly 2 million subscribers. Friday's actions are meant to address Charter's failings and to ensure NY has a partner interested in the public good, not just lining its pockets.

The commission said the US broadband provider failed to live up to its agreement as part of the merger to build internet access to an additional 145,000 households and businesses in rural areas of NY under-served by internet providers.

If you live in NY, what's your take on this decision?

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